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NYC restaurants fume over reservation site

UPI News Service, 01/31/2007 

A former hotel concierge has riled high-end restaurants in New York by selling primetime reservations for their tables online for a $35 fee.

Pascal Riffaud's site has been in business for about a year, but has taken off recently, and it's not welcome by the likes of restaurateur Danny Meyer, who owns such popular sites as Gramercy Tavern, the Modern and Union Square Cafe.

Meyer told The New York Times the online service "undermines the beauty of the dialogue that takes place when a restaurant and its patrons have a healthy, dynamic relationship."

Prominent New York restaurant publicist Jennifer Baum also dislikes the rocking the "it's who you know" boat, and said while she has helped people get good reservations, there's a difference between her and the online service.

"I would never take money for a reservation. It's about a level of integrity," she said.

Riffaud is secretive about how he builds his inventory of reservations but admitted reservations are sometimes made under a false name and later changed to his customer's name, the Times said.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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